When I left the white city of Tetoaun in the morning, it was about 250 km and approximately 6 hours to Meknes. A stop in the blue city of Chefchaouen lengthened the journey a bit, and I arrive in Meknes in the late afternoon.
I am accommodated by a young overmotivated man with a warmth that is not even characteristic of Moroccans. But he is a man in his place. He is studying tourism so that he can get out of Morocco as soon as possible and start further studies in England and have a better life. He doesn’t like Moroccan culture. That is why meeting with every other traveler is a reason for enthusiasm for him. He asks me about everything possible, what I think about the current political situation in Europe, what we eat here in Chechnya, if we also have Ramadan and what about our girls? During the cute interrogation, he carefully writes down my passport data and mentions that all tourists must report to the police immediately to avoid problems.
After a while, the owner of the riad appears.
Sweaty and smelly, I shake hands with the owner, who does not hesitate and immediately assures me that I must stay in Meknes, that it is beautiful here. He shouts something in their language towards the space until even the decorative chandeliers begin to resonate with his voice.
A young lady rushes up. Shy and silent, she sits down on the sofa. The owner tells me to sit next to her and explains with a Huron laugh how wonderful Moroccan women are and that I should really consider extending my stay. He immediately takes a picture of us, so I hand him my cell phone to get a memory of this fateful moment when I didn’t get married again.
I ask the young receptionist when Ramadan begins. His answer surprises me because he says he doesn’t know. Either today or tomorrow or the day after. It’s a big holiday, so I’m surprised he doesn’t know exactly. However, from what he described, apparently it depends on the full moon and the whole country must agree that this full moon is the right one. As soon as everyone agrees on it, then he declares Ramadan. So they waited until it started to be announced en masse using street amplions. As soon as it is heard in all directions throughout Morocco, then it will begin.
I let the unspoken proposal of marriage, which was hanging over us, float slightly in the air and with a smile took my things in my hand as a sign that I would like to go to rest. The young man takes me to the shared bunks. It doesn’t look bad, like from a fairy tale – decorated walls, beautiful chandeliers, curtains made of expensive fabrics, wooden railings…
Before I can even choose a bed, the distinctive sound of the owner’s voice fills the room. The young man nods to himself, grabs my shoulder and leads me to a room with a double bed. “Sir, since Ramadan is approaching, we don’t have many guests and you are a nice owner. This will be your room and the price will not change.”
A room with a private bathroom and a comfortable large bed, that’s not to be denied. In the back of my mind, I silently hope that there isn’t a hidden catch in this and I prefer to carefully lock myself away.
Choosing accommodation for a digital nomad
The view from the terrace of the riad offers me a view of the city in the fog and I have made up my mind. That was enough of the adventure for today. I will not walk through the city of Meknes. I take my laptop and start working. The internet somehow works, but finding a socket near the table was a challenge.
It sounds like a banality, but choosing accommodation is quite a science from the point of view of a digital nomad. You need to find accommodations where they have internet, where they have desks, and where they have outlets near the desks. It seems like an easy task, but this triple combination is a pain in the ass and sometimes it’s a detective work that takes a couple of hours. And when you add to that the fact that you are mostly sharing a room with 6 other complete strangers, would you still like to have a socket by your bed so that you can charge your mobile phone overnight? Phew…
You might be thinking I could work from an internet cafe. If you spend the day on a motorcycle and don’t get to work until the evening, it means that the cafes will already be closed. In addition, a person can stay in a cafe for an hour, two at most, before he starts to feel uncomfortable with his presence for a long time without orders, drunk on coffee and stressed with worries every time he goes out for a snack, if when he comes back he will find his laptop on the table, etc., etc. So find well-equipped accommodation is simply essential and it was not always easy in Morocco.
What never disappoints in accommodation in Morocco is breakfast. In them, the Moroccan generosity, which is so characteristic of them, has always manifested itself quite prominently. The photo shows only the base, but then they gradually brought more goodies. That’s why I always chose accommodation that, in addition to a power outlet, also had breakfast.
shouts the young receptionist during breakfast. Just at the moment when I and the other 3 guests are cramming as much as we can. I stop the chewing process and with my mouth full I wonder whether to spit it all out on the plate.
During Ramadan, it is forbidden to drink, eat, smoke and have sex during the day. Once it gets dark, you can catch up on it all. People who have health problems or carry the germ of a new life in their belly are allowed exceptions. Tourists and travelers do not have to observe Ramadan, however, out of respect for the local culture, it is recommended not to eat or drink in front of local people. Having sex in front of them is probably not the best idea either, not even at night.
The young receptionist looks at me and says “Take it easy, I’m fucking on Ramadan! I want to get out of this country. Such nonsense! Would you believe that if you get caught on the street, you go to jail for a few months!! ! It’s a debilitation!”
I finish my breakfast and continue on my way knowing that it is better not to eat on the street. Next stop Casablanca.